Tropical Storm Allison Wreaks Havoc

On this day in 2001, Tropical Storm Allison hits Houston, Texas, for the second time in three days. Although Allison never even approached hurricane status, by the time it dissipated in New England a week later, it had killed about 50 people and caused $5 billion in damages.

Allison originated off the coast of Africa on May 21. For the next two weeks it moved across the Atlantic, into the Caribbean and then along the Mexican coast. By the morning of June 6, the storm had winds as high as 60 miles per hour as it hit the Texas coast at Galveston. It battered the region with rain, with Houston getting as much as eight inches. Allison was unusual in that it hovered over the region for several days.

Louisiana and southern Texas were inundated with rain. Baton Rouge received 18 inches over just a couple of days. Some portions of Texas racked up 36 inches by June 11. It was at this time that a weather system moving east from the Rocky Mountains collided with Allison and pushed it to the northeast. By the time Allison moved on, 22 people in Texas and Louisiana had lost their lives.

For the next week, Allison moved slowly up the Atlantic coast, continuing to dump rain in prodigious amounts. Florida attributed nine deaths to the storm as did North Carolina–all as a result of traffic accidents. In Virginia Beach, Virginia, a tree fell on a woman and killed her. Pennsylvania received up to 10 inches of rain and had serious flooding problems. The flood conditions caused a natural gas explosion in an apartment complex in Hatboro, Pennsylvania, killing six people.

Tropical Storm Allison proved that storms need not be particularly strong or fast-moving to be deadly and destructive.

Posted in Disaster.

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